Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole
Owls go to battle in Zack Snyder's first family film.
Wed Aug 18 2010
Owls Eglantine, Soren and Kludd discuss whether the famed Legend of the Guardians is true.
Time Out Ratings<strong>Rating: </strong>0/5
Photographs: Courtesy of Warner Bros. Entertainment
The biggest surprise about the animated movie Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole is that it's directed by Zack Snyder, the acclaimed filmmaker behind the violent epics 300, Watchmen and the 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead. It's a great rsum, but not one you'd call kid-friendly.
The movie, says Snyder, "is a severe contrast to my past work, but it's fun. I don't know how to make a cartoon. What I do know is how to make an adventure story with cool fighting owls."
That said, Snyder is no stranger to appealing to children: He and his wife, producer Deborah Snyder, have six of them, ranging in age from 10 to 17. In fact, he was already familiar with the film's source material: Kathryn Lasky's 15-book chronicle of a world populated by owls caught in a brutal struggle between good and evil. "My 12-year-old son is obsessed with the books," the director says. "His e-mail signature is 'Guardians—coming soon in 3D!' (Snyder says the 3D effect will help kids "get into the film's world," particularly when the owls fly.)
The movie, adapted from the first three volumes in Lasky's series, details barn owl Soren's journey to become the leader of a resistance movement against a fascist regime called the Pure Ones. Alluding to both King Arthur and Nazi Germany, Lasky's books are rich in the sort of historical references that have always appealed to Snyder (both Watchmen and 300 riff on real-life events too). "I just find history fascinating," he says. "For this film, it was a way to relate to the material that I could really sink my teeth into."
Interestingly, book 15, The War of the Ember, is an homage to the Battle of Thermopylae—the same event Snyder depicted in 300. So are there avian Spartans in Snyder's future? "It's pretty hilarious," Snyder admits with a laugh. "[A sequel] is a little ways off, but it could go completely full circle for me."
Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole (PG) opens Sept 24.
Find the birds of prey all over NYC
The barred owls in the birds of prey exhibit are often active in the daytime, so tots can listen for their call—eight hoots ending in a lower pitch.
Look for Eastern screech owls, great horned owls and saw-whet owls as you walk the grounds. And don't forget to donate $25 or more to the Central Park Conservancy; the money will help protect the park's wildlife and habitats, and your tyke will receive a free Olmsted the Owl stuffed animal.
Gaze at the elaborate Bennett Clock that once adorned the former headquarters of The New York Herald. The timepiece features bell ringers Gog and Magog, the goddess Minerva and two pet owls. Additionally, two bronze hooters sit atop pillars on the square's south entrance at Broadway and 34th Street.
Prospect Park Zoo
The menagerie offers an "Owl Bird-Day Party" for kids ages eight to 11. After a meet-and-greet with great horned owls, partygoers will learn how the birds hunt, nest and survive in the wild. They'll also dissect the owl's pellets. If the party doesn't sound terribly appetizing, head to the "Animals in Art" exhibition to view the duo in their regular habitat.—Dan Avery